The United Nations yesterday congratulated the people of Sierra Leone on the peaceful conduct of their presidential and parliamentary elections — the first held there since UN peacekeepers departed two years ago — and appealed for continued calm.

"Wait patiently for the results and keep the same spirit of tolerance you have shown during the campaigns," said Victor Angelo, the Executive Representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message to the electorate.

The UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other international partners have provided technical assistance to the country’s National Electoral Commission to ensure that the elections meet international standards, including by training 37,000 polling staff.

The vote was Sierra Leone’s second since the end of the decade-long civil war in 2002, and the first since the withdrawal of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in December 2005.

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